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5 Nobel Prize Economists Call for End to Failed War on Drugs

May 7, 2014  |  The war on drugs is a global disaster, ranging from mass incarceration to violent, billion-dollar cartels. It is a public health nightmare, and a social justice embarrassment that targets communities of color and locks them up  for profit. When the UN General Assembly convenes its special session on drugs in 2016, it should take heed of a groundbreaking report released May 7, which exposes the injustices of the drug war.

Five Nobel Prize economists have weighed in on the repercussions of the global war on drugs, outlining “the effects of prohibition on security, drug prices, rule of law and public health,” according to a press release. It concludes that governments would make better use of their money and resources by supporting evidence-based policies, and calls on these governments to do so.

Guatemalan President Otto Pérez Molina announced the report, titled “Ending the Drug Wars: Report of the LSE Expert Group on the Economics of Drug Policy,” during a live event at the London School of Economics, which published the paper.

In addition to the economists (Kenneth Arrow, Sir Christopher Pissarides, Thomas Schelling, Vernon Smith, and Oliver Williamson), international players such as former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz and Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Nick Clegg signed the report’s foreword, signaling the level of attention that may be awarded to this report, and perhaps, a shift in policy to be expected on the horizon.

By Elizabeth Limbach
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